23 Hearty Rice Recipes You Should Bookmark And Try

When it comes to grains, there's one pantry staple many home cooks most likely have on hand at all times: rice. This incredibly versatile starch is not only affordable and readily available (via the United Nations), it also keeps pretty much forever; in ideal conditions, maintaining its flavor and nutrients for up to three decades, according to Utah State University.

Convenience and affordability aside, rice seems to go with a variety of proteins and vegetables, as well as plays a prominent role in many entrées. The overall neutral flavor of rice varies between the types of rice — from fragrant to nutty notes; and its texture varies as well, to include fluffy, sticky, and chewy.

These recommended rice dishes below are of the hearty variety that can easily make a main dish or be accompanied by a simple green salad for a complete meal. Here are 23 rice recipes to bookmark for the next time you're steaming up a pot of this staple grain.

1. Chicken Fried Rice

A classic odds-and-ends dish typically composed of leftovers, chicken fried rice is delicious enough that you'll want to make it from scratch. Described by its creator as tasting "just like takeout," this recipe for soy- and sesame-seasoned rice loaded with bell peppers, peas, and corn, plus fluffy scrambled eggs, requires just a few ingredients and comes together in 25 minutes, making it a great option for busy weeknights — and it's a complete meal, featuring protein, veggies, and a starch all in one bowl.

Recipe: Chicken Fried Rice

2. Mexican Rice Soup

If you're looking for a hearty soup full of Mexican flavors, then look no further than this Mexican rice soup. A mix of pinto, black, and kidney beans and hominy corn, the soup goes big on seasonings, including chile powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder. The soup is made extra-filling with the addition of brown rice, which cooks to chewy perfection in the flavorful broth in about 30 minutes. Once served, the soup is garnished with sliced avocado, diced red onion, plenty of chopped fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Recipe: Mexican Rice Soup

3. California Roll Bowl

If you love sushi or the Hawaiian rice bowls known as poke, then this California roll bowl is for you. A deconstructed version of the famous sushi roll, this bowl starts with a pile of sticky sushi rice and is topped with imitation crab meat, diced cucumber and avocado, and crunchy nori sheets, then drizzled with a spicy Sriracha-spiked Japanese mayo. A filling dish on its own, the bowl is perfectly complemented by other Japanese staples such as gyoza dumplings, miso soup, and seaweed salad.

Recipe: California Roll Bowl

4. Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is probably one of the first dishes that comes to mind when most of us think of rice, and for good reason: this creamy, hearty preparation showcases rice's subtle flavors and textures. Traditionally made by slowly adding simmering broth to rice and stirring constantly as the liquid absorbs, the dish is made a lot more hands-off using the trusty Instant pot. This set-it-and-forget-it recipe incorporates mushrooms, garlic, thyme, butter, and Parmesan, and is cooked to creamy perfection in just five minutes.

Recipe: Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto

5. Easy Brazilian Rice

Have you ever tried Brazilian rice? This recipe's developer, Miriam Hahn, describes the side dish as a versatile one that picks up lots of flavor and a silky texture from being sautéed with plenty of oil, onion, and garlic before being steamed in hot water. After cooking, resting, and getting fluffed with a fork, the rice is garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, and makes the perfect base for a fragrant Brazilian chicken stew, or as an accompaniment to fish, stir-fried vegetables, or beans.

Recipe: Easy Brazilian Rice

6. California Roll

If you've never made sushi at home, don't be intimidated: The process isn't that complicated. This straightforward recipe takes cooked sushi rice and spreads it out onto some nori that's been placed atop a plastic wrap-lined sushi-rolling bamboo mat. Then, the nori-rice combo is flipped so the rice is facing down (eventually outward once rolled). Imitation crab meat, sticks of cucumber, and sliced avocado are added, and the sushi is rolled up tightly, with the rice on the outside. Once sliced, the pretty spirals of rice and filling are ready to be dipped in umami-rich soy sauce.

Recipe: California Roll

7. Stuffed Acorn Squash

An entire meal all in one squash half, this recipe features dense, sweet acorn squash stuffed with a hearty mixture of wild rice, sausage, chopped kale, and dried raisins and cherries. Cooked separately, the stuffing is piled into pre-baked squash halves ⁠— their tender flesh contrasting with the rich meat and chewy rice ⁠— and the whole dish gets a sweet boost from the dried fruit. Any leftover stuffing makes a wonderful meal, and you might even find yourself preparing it on its own even if you can't find any acorn squash.

Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash

8. Instant Pot Vegan Red Beans and Rice

A classic soul food dish, red beans and rice is typically associated with Louisiana, where it's loaded with lard, sausage, ham hock, and pickled pork. If you're looking for a vegan-friendly version, then look no further: This version utilizes vegan sausage, but still goes all-in on traditional flavorings such as the "Holy Trinity" of celery, onion, and bell pepper; Cajun seasoning; and dried herbs. The flavorful dish takes about an hour, starting with soaked dried beans, and is great served alongside a green salad.

Recipe: Instant Pot Vegan Red Beans and Rice

9. Lemon Rice Pilaf

If you're looking for a lighter way to enjoy rice, then this bright, citrusy pilaf is a great option. To prepare it, raw basmati rice is briefly sautéed with onion, garlic, and lemon zest before being simmered with vegetable broth, more lemon in the form of juice, fresh dill and parsley, plus cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Once the rice is fully cooked and perfectly fluffy, it's garnished with lemon slices and ready to be plated up next to grilled salmon, a veggie burger, or crab cakes.

Recipe: Lemon Rice Pilaf

10. Ginger Sushi Burrito

Basically a large sushi roll, this nori-and-sushi-rice burrito wrap is stuffed with raw, sushi-grade tuna and salmon, sesame seeds, romaine lettuce, sliced cucumber and avocado, ribbons of raw carrot, pickled ginger, and green onions — an explosion of fresh flavors and textures to complement the fatty fish. Those ingredients are bound with a Sriracha mayo, naturally, resulting in a delicious, healthy meal that any fan of raw fish would love. Not sure where to obtain sushi-grade fish? Recipe developer Kit Hondrum suggests ordering portions of fish from your favorite sushi spot.

Recipe: Ginger Sushi Burrito

11. Easy Khichdi

One of the most basic and most enduring vegetarian South Asian dishes, khichdi comes from the Sanskrit word khiccha, which means a dish of rice and legumes, according to the Times of India. This version utilizes the common combination of rice and yellow lentils, which are simply cooked together in a pot along with a flavorful sauté of onion, green chiles, tomatoes, cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric, and ginger. It's simmered into a thick, savory porridge, and can be enjoyed alone or as an accompaniment to chicken, lamb, shrimp, or paneer cheese.

Recipe: Easy Khichdi

12. Parmesan Risotto

This indulgent risotto is made in the classical Italian manner, using short, stubby carnaroli rice; carnaroli's high starch content helps thicken the dish to a luxurious creaminess. The rice is toasted with garlic, onions, and olive oil, deglazed with white wine, and then stirred constantly as hot ladles full of herb- and Parmesan-infused chicken stock are added. Once perfectly cooked, the rice is enriched with Parmesan and butter, and enlivened with lemon juice and zest. It's a classic rice dish that's satisfying all on its own, perhaps accompanied by a glass of chilled white wine.

Recipe: Parmesan Risotto

13. New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

A classic New Orleans dish that originated back in the 1930s, according to Camellia Brand beans, red beans and rice features kidney beans simmered with plenty of pork products and served with hot, fluffy white rice. This version utilizes smoked sausage such as kielbasa and dried red beans, is flavored with onion, bell pepper, Creole seasoning, and bay leaves, and is slowly simmered for five hours (or pressure cooked in an Instant pot for a half hour) until rich and creamy.

Recipe: New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

14. Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice

This tasty sweet-and-sour fried rice calls upon the tropical flavors of shrimp and pineapple to create a colorful, well-balanced entrée that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. To make it, onions, red bell pepper, and garlic are sautéed with shrimp before rice, peas, and canned pineapple chunks (along with their juice) are added and cooked through. Vegetable broth and some soy sauce lend a savory quality, and best of all, the whole dish takes just 15 minutes to prepare.

Recipe: Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice

15. Crispy Buttered Turmeric Rice

This vibrant yellow rice is flavored with turmeric, a fragrant spice known for its anti-inflammatory effects. To make it, rinsed basmati rice is sautéed in butter with diced onion for a full five minutes, lending the rice the crispy texture it will retain once steamed. Additional flavor is brought to the party by garam masala, a spice blend that typically includes black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and coriander. When the rice is cooked, it's garnished with slivered almonds, and can be served with grilled meats or vegetables, or the Indian cheese paneer.

Recipe: Crispy Buttered Turmeric Rice

16. Sushi Crab Salad

If you want to "eat sushi without all the work" of making it at home, then this sushi-inspired bowl is the way to go, according to recipe developer Jason Goldstein. The dish features sushi rice that's elegantly adorned with cooked crab meat, sliced cucumber and avocado, roasted seaweed, and chopped scallions. Then, the loaded bowl is drizzled with a flavorful dressing of ginger, garlic, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and olive oil, and garnished with black sesame seeds before being served.

Recipe: Sushi Crab Salad

17. Sizzling Rice Soup

This soup features the Asian flavors of shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy, oyster sauce, and sesame oil, with an unusual twist: crispy rice, in which cooked rice is seasoned and dried out in a low oven. Meanwhile, the vegetables simmer on the stovetop with chicken stock, to which partially cooked chicken and shrimp are added. Once flavored with the aromatics, the soup is almost ready to go: Finally, the dried rice is deep-fried until crispy before being added to each bowl of soup, lending a wonderful textural contrast to the unusual dish.

Recipe: Sizzling Rice Soup

18. Classic Seafood Paella

If your knowledge of paella is limited to the emoji correction Apple issued a few years back (via Mashable), then it's time you prepared one at home: The rice-based seafood casserole that originated in Valencia is a stunning dish to serve at a dinner party. This recipe features short-grain rice that's simmered with saffron-infused fish stock, chorizo sausage, shrimp, mussels, and squid, plus other flavorful ingredients, including chopped tomatoes and smoked paprika. Once done, the rich, pork- and seafood-imbued rice is served with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

Recipe: Classic Seafood Paella

19. Vegetarian Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish that's topped with a variety of savory add-ons you mix into the rice as you eat it — hence the name bibimbap, which literally means "mixed rice." In this easy at-home version, hot rice is crowned with a kaleidoscope of fresh vegetables: cooked zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and spinach, plus raw carrots, cabbage, and scallions. The bowl is finished with a drizzle of gochujang — a funky, fermented Korean chile paste — and makes for a filling and satisfying vegetarian entrée.

Recipe: Vegetarian Bibimbap

20. Sweet Coconut Rice

We've all used plain, steamed, slightly salted rice to accompany our favorite entrées, stews, and curries, but if you're getting a little bored of that standard side dish, then this sweet coconut rice might hit the spot. Pressure-cooked in an Instant pot with coconut milk and just a tablespoon of sugar, this fragrant basmati rice is slightly sweet and full of the tropical taste and aroma of coconut. An excellent side to grilled chicken or fish, the rice also pairs well with black beans and plantains.

Recipe: Sweet Coconut Rice

21. Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed peppers are a classic comfort food dish, whether you're tucking into the Greek version known as gemista or the Hungarian type called toltott paprika. Typically a mix of ground meat and rice that's piled into a sweet pepper and then baked, the stuffed peppers are approximated in this comforting soup ⁠— without having to actually stuff any peppers. Instead, bell peppers, onions, spiced ground beef, and long-grain rice are simmered together until thick and savory, then served with toppings such as salsa, grated cheddar, fresh cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips.

Recipe: Stuffed Pepper Soup

22. Spicy Crab Salad Sushi

Homemade sushi might not always come out resembling the picture-perfect rolls served up by your favorite Japanese spot, but it will certainly be tasty. That's reason enough to ditch the takeout menu, grab your bamboo sushi-rolling mat, and whip up some of these spicy crab salad rolls, made using the imitation crab meat known as surimi. Bound with Sriracha mayo, the surimi is rolled into nori and sushi rice along with black sesame seeds and cucumber sticks, sliced, and served with additional spicy mayo.

Recipe: Spicy Crab Salad Sushi

23. Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Boat

If you've ever nibbled from a hollowed-out pineapple half known as a pineapple boat — perhaps at a Polynesian restaurant — then you know how fun this preparation can be. It's also simple to prepare a pineapple boat at home, as this teriyaki chicken recipe demonstrates: First, cooked white rice is piled into the pineapple halves, then topped with an easy and delicious chicken teriyaki simmered with soy sauce, ginger, honey, chile paste, lime juice, and pineapple juice. Then it's time to dig in — after snapping a pic for Instagram, of course.

Recipe: Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Boat